But all of us who have any trafffic whatever have occasionally run into one sort: the thread hijacker.
I was reminded of this at a couple of friends' blogs, a bit ago. This is the sort of person with a giant chip and a giant need, who comes in and slaps down some outrageous comment with one design: to move the focus of the thread onto himself.
First sign: inane commentThis is, apparently, the whole aim. Whatever the initial post was about is secondary. The primary thing is to lasso the attention of all comers, and Feed the Need.
Second sign: instant-response interaction with each and every reply
So what do you do?
I don't know.
I know what I generally do. A response or two to the substance (if any), then ignore. I know, 'tain't elegant.
My model, loosely, is Titus 3:8-11.
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.I have some at some blogs who are already on this list, so I just essentially never respond. I know what will happen if I do, and choose not to feed the pathology.
Given my fallibility, there are two "down"-sides to this:
- I might mis-diagnose, and mistake a genuine question for a hijack attempt because it is poorly or emotionally phrased.
- Even if the questioner is a self-absorbed vacuum tube, openminded lurkers who don't have the nerve to ask it might benefit from the discussion, even if it itself is pointless.
And given that the hijacker is willing to give all his time to the pursuit of his goal (occupying the center of a thread's universe), I'm simply no match. So, no matter how many times his position has been finally refuted, he'll always have one more comment. It's probably a rewording of his third, refuted comment. But he's never done, because it isn't about the issue, it's about his psychological "itch."
So I just have to decide to give the lion's share to those who are asking genuine questions. I think (= hope) my record shows that the questioner doesn't have to agree with me. I just have to feel there's a point to it.
If I don't... no sale.